5 Tips on Turning Free Consultations into Paying Clients

06 Oct 2020

Offering a free consultation is an excellent way to increase leads and generate conversions even during an economic downturn. However, it must be presented effectively to help ensure it's acting as a sales tool that can produce more profits and not waste precious time.

Focusing on the situation a prospective client is currently in and how they can be helped should safeguard against providing a solution too early and not getting paid.

When to Use Free Consultations

The first thing you must do is determine if free consultations can work for you. Some kinds of businesses are obvious fits like loan brokers and financial planners. But with a little creativity, many other businesses can use them, including:

  • Personal trainers
  • Providers of retail trading information and how-tos.
  • Pest control services
  • Online language schools
  • Providers of home security solutions
  • Life coaches
  • Providers of landscaping and snow removal services
  • Business growth consultants
  • Marketers

Working with clients who truly need a service or product will likely be beneficial for both parties. Using free consultations to ask questions and clarify how a client's problem can be solved acts as a vetting process. An expert can use it to determine how a client's needs can be met, which should help build trust and make each expectation transparent.

Making it even more straightforward to handle this type of consultation correctly can be completed by utilising the following five tips.

1. Pre-screening

Obtaining information about each prospective client before they're provided with a free consultation can be done by pre-screening them with a short application. Implementing this initial step filters prospective clients and determines which ones make a good match with the offered services.

Asking specific questions and using the answers given will provide the clues required to prepare for the consultation and help clarify the direction it needs to take. For example, suppose a digital marketing agency specialising in paid advertising wanted to explore getting new clients by offering free consultations. In that case, they might pre-screen prospective clients by asking for data related to current revenue, marketing budget, and industry.

Obtaining specific information helps ensure time isn't wasted for both parties. If an expert offers a high-price service, it's essential to know if a prospective client has the budget for this level of service.

2. Providing Useful Information

It is important to provide useful information when someone is seeking assistance from a business. The meeting should be treated strictly as a consultation. It must avoid being too much like a sales pitch.

Addressing a prospect's main reason for seeking help should aid in maintaining focus. It's also an excellent time to address any concerns and make sure the problem is clearly understood by the expert offering the service.

Providing useful information should help a potential customer feel like they're receiving tremendous value for free. Using a successful case study where a customer was happy with the service or product provided can reveal how a business delivered the correct solution.

Quantify the benefits a previous client received, such as a boost in efficiency, lowered costs, increased revenue, or business gain. This will show how the previous relationship was useful. Talk about successes to help provide reassurance.

3. Highlighting the Offer

If a business feels like they can offer the right kind of help to meet a prospective client's needs, it's critical to highlight this by also telling them what to expect. Explaining how the interaction between a business and a prospect will work if they decide to use a product or service gives them an idea of how they'll be assisted and the type of relationship they can expect.

The needs of each client will vary. Using a "soft" script to highlight an offer can aid an expert in tailoring a solution to meet the specific needs of a prospect.

Ask if they have any questions to help bring any objections to the surface. Then they can be discussed and hashed out ahead of time. If the objection deals with pricing, emphasising the overall value of a prospect's investment, or offering a payment plan might help to put their mind at ease.

4. Offering Future Work

One of the advantages of providing a consultation is the screening it gives to an expert in deciding if they want to work with a prospect. Lack of clarity or a deep concern about the offered price may be warning signals about problem clients. Also, they may just be searching for free solutions or a cheap option to solve their problem.

If the complimentary consultation went smoothly and can meet a prospect's needs, an insightful and targeted proposal can be made that offers a solution to a customer's specific problem. Closing the assessment by thanking them for their time and mentioning that their service or product would be a positive solution can help provide reassurance without sounding like a sales pitch.

5. Following Up With a Prospect

A prospect who is checking out more than one company for assistance may not make a firm decision to use a service or product during the initial consultation. Following up with them is essential and offers a period to weigh their options and decide if they will move forward.

Some individuals need to build trust before committing, especially for high ticket items. Offering a follow-up call provides the opportunity to answer any questions that may have been missed during the initial consultation and reiterate the expert's value.

Summary

Offering a free consultation can be an excellent way to qualify a prospect and turn them into a paying client. Utilising these tips should help make it easier and more efficient to prepare and get the most value out of each engagement.

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